A study to assess the potential of a wind hybrid power-plant will be conducted in Whapmagootsui. The research is part of a national $82 million clean-energy initiative announced by the federal government May 3.

The government has budgeted $700,275 to finance a Front End Engineering and Design (FEED) study to determine the technological and economic feasibility of hybrid wind energy in northern conditions.

The study is the first step toward the construction of a complete wind hybrid power plant, which would be used to combine wind, biomass and solar power to produce electricity for the Whapmagootsui community.

The goal is to replace Whapmagootsui’s existing power plant with a greener, more efficient alternative.

“We’re hoping this technology will help to create alternatives for other northern communities like ours to use renewable energy instead of burning diesel fuel,” says Whapmagootsui chief Stanley George.

Nimschu-Iskudow Inc. is the group behind the clean energy initiative. Even if the study confirms the project’s feasibility, Vice-President Sam W. Gull says it is still dependent on successfully negotiating a Power Purchasing Agreement with Hydro-Québec. The agreement would allow Nimschu-Iskudow to sell excess power to Hydro-Québec.

“We have the financial partners we need on board,” said Gull, adding that he expects the study to help secure more government funding and expedite negotiations with Hydro-Québec.

There are 55 other projects across Canada with similar environmental goals that were also approved for grant money as part of Natural Resources Canada’s ecoENERGY Innovation Initiative.